Auto components India - - EDITORIAL - Bhar­gav TS Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor s.bhar­[email protected]­pub­lish­

As the car con­tin­ues its tran­si­tion from a hard­ware-driven ma­chine to an elec­tron­ics and soft­ware de­vice, the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try’s com­pet­i­tive par­a­digms are chang­ing. Soft­ware, large com­put­ing power, and ad­vanced sen­sors are the emerg­ing fac­tors of com­pet­i­tive edge. They en­able in­no­va­tions and the progress to con­nec­tiv­ity to au­tonomous driv­ing to elec­tri­fi­ca­tion and new mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions.

How­ever, there is in­creas­ing com­plex­ity. The large num­ber of soft­ware lines of code (SLOC) con­tained in mod­ern cars vin­di­cates this. The type of ve­hi­cles which had about 10 mil­lion SLOC in 2010 now has over 160 mil­lion lines. The com­pound­ing com­plex­ity also cre­ates soft­ware-re­lated vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, as has been ev­i­denced by mil­lions of re­cent ve­hi­cle re­calls.

The av­er­age soft­ware and elec­tron­ics con­tent per ve­hi­cle is also on the rise. From the present 10%, with an an­nual growth rate of 11%, it is ex­pected to be 30% by 2030 in a D-seg­ment, or large car. Play­ers across the dig­i­tal au­to­mo­tive value chain are try­ing to cap­i­talise on in­no­va­tions en­abled through soft­ware and elec­tron­ics.

The soft­ware com­pa­nies and other dig­i­tal-tech­nol­ogy play­ers are leav­ing their cur­rent Tier 2 and Tier 3 po­si­tions to en­gage au­tomak­ers as Tier 1 sup­pli­ers. They are ex­pand­ing their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the au­to­mo­tive tech­nol­ogy ‘stack’ by mov­ing be­yond fea­tures and apps into op­er­at­ing sys­tems. At the same time, tra­di­tional Tier 1 elec­tronic sys­tem play­ers are boldly en­ter­ing the tech gi­ants’ orig­i­nal fea­ture-and-app turf, and premium au­tomak­ers are mov­ing into ar­eas fur­ther down the stack such as op­er­at­ing sys­tems, hard­ware ab­strac­tions, and sig­nal pro­cess­ing in or­der to pro­tect the essence of their tech­ni­cal dis­tinc­tion.

Sim­i­lar to hard­ware-re­lated un­cer­tain­ties, soft­ware-re­lated dis­rup­tions also are un­der way. Many strate­gic moves are pos­si­ble: au­tomak­ers could cre­ate in­dus­try con­sor­tia to stan­dard­ise ve­hi­cle ar­chi­tec­ture; dig­i­tal gi­ants could in­tro­duce on­board cloud plat­forms; mo­bil­ity play­ers could pro­duce their own ve­hi­cles or de­velop open-source ve­hi­cle stacks and soft­ware func­tions; and au­tomak­ers could in­tro­duce in­creas­ingly so­phis­ti­cated con­nected and au­tonomous cars. The tran­si­tion from hard­ware-cen­tric prod­ucts to a soft­ware-ori­ented, ser­vice-driven world is es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing for tra­di­tional au­to­mo­tive com­pa­nies. Yet, given the ex­plo­sive trends and changes, there is no choice for any­one in the in­dus­try but to pre­pare for the chang­ing par­a­digms.

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